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Here’s a link to my full story at spokesman.com on today’s launch of an Idaho government transparency website, unveiled by Gov. Butch Otter and state Controller Brandon Woolf. “We’ve always provided our public information whenever it’s requested, but this allows the citizens to quickly get to it without having to come through the office,” said Woolf, who at 40 is the youngest statewide official in Idaho. “They get right to the data.” The transparency site was set up within the controller’s existing budget, with no appropriation of state funds; other state have spent millions on such sites.
Woolf credits his staff and their “hard work and smart ideas.” They found new ways to use the Controller’s office’s existing technology for the transparency site, which automatically updates every night. Check it out here.
Idaho State Controller Brandon Woolf and Gov. Butch Otter today unveiled a new state transparency website, “Transparent Idaho,” with extensive financial information about state government that’s automatically updated every night. The site features myriad charts and graphs, tons of detail to dig into, and is searchable by cross-tabs including agency, county and more.
Otter called the new website – developed by Woolf’s office from within his existing budget – “a very important big step in transparency in state government.” Said the governor, “People all over the state, anywhere they are, if they have access, they’ll be able to go online and say where are we spending money and what are we spending money on in one of the agencies of the state?”
The governor said by putting so much data “just a click away” the new site should help reduce the need for Idahoans to file public records requests to get financial information about state government; they can just go online and find it at hand.
Woolf said the site was made possible because “we’ve been able to enable the existing technology that we have in our office, namely the Idaho Business Intelligence System, which is our data warehouse.” He said, “This is the citizens’ government and it’s the citizens’ money and this website will help provide so that the citizens can identify and know how that money’s being spent.”
Woolf said the site is somewhat limited at this point, but he sees it as just a first step. Eventually, he’d like to have a searchable electronic version of the state’s checkbook online, so people could search, for example, to see how much an agency paid to a particular company. Getting to that point, however, likely would require an additional investment; Woolf said he may request funds next year. The site can be accessed here.